Agribusiness, Horticulture & Fishing
Agricultural inspectors inspect agricultural assets, processing equipment, and facilities, and aquaculture and timber operations.
What does an Agricultural Inspector do?
Agricultural inspectors inspect agricultural assets, processing equipment, and facilities, and aquaculture and timber operations, to ensure regulations and laws concerning health, quality, and safety are being adhered to.
Agricultural inspectors make sure that the food we eat is safe and of a high quality. They are responsible for checking plants, animals and produce at farms, businesses and food processing plants, and could work for a variety of government inspection agencies.
They may also inspect storage, shipping and aircraft facilities to ensure they meet hygiene and quality standards, and export requirements.
In quarantine services, agricultural inspectors examine imported plants, animals and products (timber, seeds and dried fruits, for example) and make quarantine arrangements where necessary.
They may also play an educational role in advising farmers about disease management, health regulations, and the implications of breaches of regulations.
Key skills and interests
To become an agricultural inspector, you should have:
- knowledge and experience of agriculture
- good communication skills
- good observation and problem-solving skills
- fairness and reliability
- tact and diplomacy
- up-to-date knowledge of relevant laws.
You may be required to be able to handle animals confidently and humanely.
Working hours and conditions
Agricultural inspectors will usually work full-time, which may include weekends and shift work.
Inspectors are usually office based, but the job involves frequent travel, and you would spend at least half of your time visiting workplaces. There may be occasional overnight stays away from home.
If you are working with animals, conditions on some visits can be noisy and dirty, and you should be able to cope with strong smells. You may need to wear protective clothing for some jobs.
In quarantine services, inspectors may work at international airports, seaports, and container / storage facilities.
How to become an Agricultural Inspector?
Entry Level Education
To become an agricultural inspector, you usually have to complete a VET qualification in the relevant industry area – for example, meat processing (meat safety). You may be able to study through distance education.
As a quarantine inspector, you must be an employee of the federal Department of Agriculture & Water Resources. Once employed, you must complete on-the-job training. Quarantine inspectors are employed at airports and seaports throughout Australia.
Employment of agricultural inspectors fell over the last few years, and the number of new job openings is expected to continue to be low.